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Jesus’ Five Most Unbiblical Teachings

December 1, 2015

not-kosher-jesusIn the past 30 or so years there has been a concerted effort in Christian academia and even in some liberal Jewish circles to rehabilitate Jesus, the supposed founder of Christianity, to bring him back into the Jewish fold. This is being done, in part, to undo the effects of two millennia of Christian antisemitism and to create ecumenical bridges between Christians and Jews. On the other hand, among some Evangelicals and Messianics, the push to re-Judaize Jesus is spearheaded not only to prove that Christianity has its origins within Judaism but to prop up their belief that Jesus is indeed the Jewish “messiah”, one who taught very Jewish things but whom Jews have, nonetheless, failed to accept either because of their “blindness”, their “envy” or simply out of spite.

While the efforts to return Jesus to Judaism are certainly an improvement to the way Christianity historically treated the Jewish faith and the nation that practices it, I believe that they all miss a far bigger picture – why Jesus was rejected by the Jewish people in the first place? Why do Jews refuse to let him back in and spurn the religion founded in his name as avodah zarah (strange or foreign worship). There’s little doubt to most Jews that Jesus was once part of the Jewish world. Many of the teachings recorded in the New Testament reflect that Jesus have had great affinity with the first century Judaism’s Pharisaic branch and was well-versed in the Oral Law. He appears to have practiced the normative Judaism of his day, at least outwardly. So far so good. This makes it easy to overlook that it was some of the other things that Jesus taught to his disciples that made him downright antithetical to the Hebrew Bible, Judaism and the Jewish people.

Here are the five of these unbiblical teachings of Jesus and New Testament that exposed him as a false teacher and earned him Israel’s rejection:

1. Jesus was claimed to be divine (god)

The synoptic gospels (Mark, Mathews and Luke) do not outright stay that Jesus is god or divine, but they do include statements that strongly imply that. The gospel of Luke, for example, makes a claim that G-d Himself will “overshadow” (impregnate) a human virgin Mary and the product of this union between divine and mortal will be the “Son of God” (Luke 1:35). The pagan readers of this gospel, already well acquainted with their own gods coming down to earth, consorting with and impregnating human virgins in their respective religious myths, would readily recognize that the product of such a union would be a demigod, or man-god with supernatural powers.

New Testament makes a claim that when Jesus miraculously calmed the sea and the wind, his supposedly monotheistic Jewish disciples (who were with him in the same boat) exclaimed:

“What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Matthew 8:27).

The strong suggestion here is that Jesus is more than a man. The New Testament scribes, however did not stop at that. Next, we are informed that when Jesus was walking on water, the disciples could no longer hold back their worship of him as divine:

“And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!” (Matthew 14:33)

Of course, the TaNaKh (the “Old Testament”) also records various miracles performed by Moses and many of the prophets, miracles far greater than those which the New Testament attributes to Jesus,  controlling nature on grandiose scale in front of the audience of millions (including “non-believers”, i.e. folks Jesus normally refused to perform in front of) and even raising the dead (e.g. Elijah), but it did not enter the minds of the Jews witnessing those awesome events to worship either Moses or the prophets, to proclaim them as “divine”, to give them praise due to G-d alone. They understood that to do that would be idolatry. Apparently this fact has escaped the minds of Christians (and certainly those of them who penned the New Testament).

There are many other instances in the New Testament where “godhood” is being claimed on Jesus’s behalf, such as Hebrews 1:6, with its blatant distortion of the Jewish scriptures (see Psalm 97:7):

“And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.””

The Jewish people rejected all such claims made by Christianity as an outright idolatry. The Jews, G-d proclaims through prophet Isaiah, are the witnesses to the way G-d truly is; they know that there’s nobody else besides Him, that G-d can’t ever be seen as a physical form (since G-d warned in Deuteronomy 4:15 that this would lead to idolatry – as evidenced by Roman and Eastern Christianity’s abundant statues and icons of Jesus and worship of the Christian man-god within Protestantism), and that there’s no savior or rock besides the G-d of Israel as He already revealed Himself to the Jewish people when they left Egypt:

Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.” (Isaiah 44:8)

2. Jesus claimed he can forgive all sins

The claim that Jesus alone has the power to forgive our sins is the cornerstone of Christianity. In Matthew 9:6 Jesus declares:

“The Son of man has the authority on earth to forgive sins”

The New Testament makes a claim that since Jesus supposedly had the ability to perform miracles, that proves that he had the right to forgive sins as well:

“Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.”Then the man got up and went home. (Matthew 9:5-7)

Does the ability or claim to perform miracles give someone the right to forgive sins against G-d? The Bible warns us that whoever does a miracle but then teaches something contrary to what G-d has revealed (which, first and foremost, would include Jesus allowing himself to be worshiped by men as god), is a false prophet:

If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The L-rd your G-d is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the L-rd your G-d you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. That prophet or dreamer must be put to death for inciting rebellion against the L-rd your G-d, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. That prophet or dreamer tried to turn you from the way the L-rd your G-d commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you. (Deuteronomy 13:1-5)

Judaism teaches that only G-d and G-d alone can forgive sins committed against Him. Only G-d has such power and He never relinquished this right to anyone:

“See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.” (Deuteronomy 32:39)

Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. (Micah 7:18)

Furthermore, Judaism teaches (e.g. Talmud, Yoma 8:9) that sins against other people can only be forgiven by the victims themselves, not a third party (e.g. Jesus).

3. Jesus taught that evil people shouldn’t be resisted

In one of his iconic teachings, Jesus proclaimed that, contrary to what his audience heard before, they should now do as follows when abused by an evil person:

“Offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well” (Matthew 5:38-39)

This pacifist teaching (which also included nonresistance against enemy forces, as exemplified in Matthew 5:41, which enjoins readers to carry the gear of Roman soldiers even farther than what the Roman law demanded) goes against the Torah command that instructs the Jewish people to directly confront evil, lest it spread and affect the rest of the community:

“You shall burn the evil out from your midst” (Deuteronomy 17:7)

As Rabbi Joseph Telushkin wrote in his commentary on the above statement, “America’s survival in the Second World War came about only because almost all American Christians rejected Jesus’ advice to “resist not evil”.

Gandhi, who greatly admired Jesus and sought to emulate his pacifism in the face of evil and injustice at the hands of persecutors, offered the following advice to Jews then in the midst of the Holocaust:

“If I were a Jew and were born in Germany … I would claim Germany as my home even as the tallest gentile German may, and challenge him to shoot me or cast me in the dungeon.And suffering voluntarily undergone will bring them an inner strength and joy. … The calculated violence of Hitler may even result in a general massacre of the Jews by way of his first answer to the declaration of such hostilities. But if the Jewish mind could be prepared for voluntary suffering, even the massacre I have imagined could be turned into a day of thanksgiving and joy that Jehovah had wrought deliverance of the race even at the hands of the tyrant.”

4. Jesus claimed that without him people can’t come to G-d

One of the most egregious teachings of Jesus to Jewish minds has to be his insistence that people can only have access to G-d through him and him alone:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

Not only that, Jesus claimed that Jews can’t even know G-d, except through him:

“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. (Matthew 11:27)

Of course, Judaism rejects such teaching, insist that people can come close to G-d, as long as they do so with all their heart:

“The L-rd is near to all who call Him, to all who call Him with sincerity.” (Psalm 145:18)

No only that, Jews knew since the days of Moses that the G-d of Israel is already close to them, only a prayer away:

What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the L-rd our G-d is near us whenever we pray to him? (Deuteronomy 4:7)

Did the people of Israel understand and know G-d before Jesus came along? Of course! The righteous of Israel were told to only boast that they know and understand G-d (no Jesus required):

Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

5. Jesus distorted Torah commandments

Jesus said to his disciples:

“Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that NOTHING that enters a person from the outside can defile them? (Mark 7:18)

Whether Jesus actually said this himself or this was a later distortion by a church scribe who sought to elevate “spiritual Christianity” above “carnal Judaism”, Jesus’ words directly contradict Torah’s command:

 ‘Every creature that moves along the ground is to be regarded as unclean; it is not to be eaten. You are not to eat any creature that moves along the ground, whether it moves on its belly or walks on all fours or on many feet; it is unclean. Do not defile yourselves by any of these creatures. Do not make yourselves unclean by means of them or be made unclean by them.  I am the L-rd your G-d; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves along the ground. I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your G-d; therefore be holy, because I am holy. (Leviticus 11:41-45)

Although Jesus was a Jew, these five unbiblical teachings of Jesus will forever brand him, in Jewish eyes, as a false teacher, false prophet and an abominable idol of the nations, permanently preventing him from returning back to the Jewish fold.

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40 Comments leave one →
  1. Concerned Reader permalink
    December 1, 2015 9:14 am

    “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that NOTHING that enters a person from the outside can defile them? (Mark 7:18)

    This cannot be seen as an outright injunction against the distinctions between clean and unclean, because all throughout Luke-Acts, and the Epistles (all post Jesus Pauline documents,) the prohibitions against consuming blood, against eating meat sacrificed to idols, and things strangled, remain intact.

    Also, Paul says the following in 1 Corinthians 8:13 “Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.” Vegetarianism is technically kosher, so I don’t see that even Paul is advocating what Christians read him as saying.

    IE if someone needs you to respect certain dietary requirements, (other than the ones already established in the epistles) in order for them to feel”safe” in belief or practice, you should not hinder them by your behavior.

    The reason scholars see Jesus as at home in Judaism is because the areas where he is supposed to have violated the Torah were all largely issues still under discussion in his day.

    The crippled man accused of carrying his mat on shabbat after his healing by J is a good example. I have a feeling that today, you would treat that case the same as one who uses a wheelchair on shabbat. It would technically be an extension of the crippled man’s private domain.

    It doesn’t seem like it would count as something to call J out on as a violation. Also, his alleged violation of ritual hand-washing makes no sense because in his day only the priests observed that custom.

    On professor Lawrence Schiffman’s blog he has an interesting article about the absence of the Eruv in the halacha of many second temple groups.

  2. December 1, 2015 9:23 am

    “This cannot be seen as an outright injunction against the distinctions between clean and unclean, because all throughout Luke-Acts, and the Epistles….”

    CR, I didn’t make an assumption that the NT is internally consistent. So, it’s perfectly plausible that one statement in one of the books will contradict other statements in other books of the New Testament. My point was that this particular instance (among many, actually) of Jesus’ claimed teachings directly contradicts Torah.

  3. Concerned Reader permalink
    December 1, 2015 9:32 am

    In this instance though Gene several much later PAULINE manuals of discipline and a whole line of reasoning, show this to be a fluke. You are right, I’m not assuming internal consistency, but I find it unlikely that Jesus taught something that not even Paul taught. If Paul is saying “go vegetarian,” and has the rules in Acts as a cornerstone of his basic ethics, that gives me pause.

  4. Concerned Reader permalink
    December 1, 2015 9:35 am

    All of Paul’s writings contain basic rules against avoiding idolatrous food, cruel slaughter, etc. I don’t find it coincidental.

  5. December 1, 2015 9:47 am

    I think that this statement of Paul (a supposed Jew) is quite odd then, don’t you think:

    “As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself.” (Romans 14:14)

  6. Concerned Reader permalink
    December 1, 2015 10:50 am

    In so much as Paul is preaching to non Jews, I don’t think its an odd statement. Even in Judaism, if your life is in danger you may eat non kosher food if it will save your life. I realize that is an extenuating circumstance, but Paul is preaching (in a vast majority of cases to non Jews, and when dealing with non Jews he gives appropriate G-d fearer prohibitions.)

  7. December 1, 2015 10:57 am

    CR, Paul made a lot of odd statements, considering that he wanted people to believe that he was a Pharisaic Jew:

    “And to the Jews I became like a Jew, so that I might win the Jews. To those under the Law, as under the Law, myself not being under the Law, so that I might win those under the Law.” (1 Corinthians 9:20)

    I don’t understand the need some have to make excuses in Paul’s defense. Why not read him for what he actually said instead of trying to whitewash the man as if he was somehow above error. I think that he was a mix of sincerity and charlatanry, like many of today’s televangelists.

  8. December 1, 2015 2:51 pm

    Peter, do you agree with Jesus’ statement when he said that “NOTHING that enters a person from the outside can defile them?”

    “Nothing” is a pretty emphatic statement, don’t you think? As I noted in my post, Jesus was obviously wrong – SOME THINGS (like unclean animals and certainly other ritually unclean things that one is forbidden to even touch, much less eat) CAN and WILL defile a Jewish person when ingested. Torah is clear about that.

    I believe that the text of Mark 7:18 is Christian spiritualization of the Torah that sought to create an artificial distinction between the commanded ritual purity and moral purity. The argument may have supposedly started regarding the ritual hand worshiping, but it ended with Jesus (or at least a church scribe putting those words in his mouth) declaring that NOTHING external can make a person’s body impure. Nothing. Would Jesus the Jew declare a pig kosher for Jews then? No, but as with many heretical teachings, it’s the subtle suggestions that lay the groundwork to slowly undermine listener’s adherence to orthodoxy. Paul would go on to declare that he was “not under the Law” (1 Corinthians 9:20). The author of Hebrews 8:13 would declare the Mosaic Covenant “obsolete”. The NT was headed in that direction all along – just not all at once.

    I also believe that those suggestions are products of church scribes who wrote the NT (as is much what Jesus supposedly did and said in the NT) – and history of Christianity vis-à-vis the Jewish Law demonstrates the direction they were trying to take their readers in.

  9. December 1, 2015 5:28 pm

    Hi Peter, the law was “our” tutor as Paul said, now those who believe in Jesus are no longer under that law. And those that try to say that we still have to keep kosher are under a curse. They are the foolish Galatians that still want to keep the law. Isn’t it really clear?

    Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us

    For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse

    Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

    At least if you believe the new testament, you should see things for what they say.

    This is the same thing as Jesus Said. “Nothing” is pretty specific. “No longer” is also really specific. Not only you don’t have to, but IF YOU DO, you are cursed.

    Now Jesus took all those awful requirements of the “LAW” and nailed it on the cross for you to be free of the burden of eating pork chop and camarones!

  10. KAVI permalink
    December 1, 2015 10:31 pm

    [] Peter has the correct interpretation. The text in Matthew and Mark refers only to eating food without washing hands according to the tradition. These texts have nothing to do with Leviticus.

    [] The Pharisees themselves understood that the words of L-rd Yeshua had nothing to do with Leviticus because they made no reference to it. They were offended because of their false tradition, not because they found Yeshua’s words conflicted with the Torah.

    [] And it is strange to focus on the word “nothing” when it does not appear in the Greek text– the actual Greek word is “pan” or, in English, “everything”. And here, in Jewish context amongst a Jewish audience, means “everything lawful.”

    [] When properly read In context, an ‘amplified’ reading of Matthew 15:17-19 would be more like: “Eating with unwashed hands does NOT defile you as the tradition would lead you to believe– Don’t you understand that food eaten with unwashed hands simply goes into the mouth, the stomach, then out of the body? Instead, what truly defiles a man are things rooted within the heart and come out of him [evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.]”

    Isn’t it bearing ‘false witness’ to compare Leviticus to Matthew when neither the texts nor the Jewish audience made such comparison?

    Isn’t it also ‘slanderous’ to denigrate anyone’s character by twisting their words?

  11. December 1, 2015 10:46 pm

    “These texts have nothing to do with Leviticus.”

    The statement that “NOTHING that enters a person from the outside can defile them” has EVERYTHING to do with Leviticus.

    “The Pharisees themselves understood that the words of L-rd Yeshua had nothing to do with Leviticus because they made no reference to it.”

    What the NT records or omits about Jesus’ hated opponents is meaningless as a true testimony.

    “And it is strange to focus on the word “nothing” when it does not appear in the Greek text– the actual Greek word is “pan” or, in English, “everything”.”

    If you read the context, it becomes obvious that “nothing” is a better translation for English audience, since there’s a negative after it – as in “every thing NOT” – which is the same as “NO thing”.

    “When properly read In context”

    I do read it in context. The church scribes “forgot” that eating unclean things DOES defile people.

    “Isn’t it bearing ‘false witness’ to compare Leviticus to Matthew when neither the texts nor the Jewish audience made such comparison?”

    No, it’s exposing a false prophet and a false idolatrous religion.

    “Isn’t it also ‘slanderous’ to denigrate anyone’s character by twisting their words?”

    You mean as NT does to the Jewish people (who refused to worship your false god) whom it labels as “children of the devil”?

  12. December 2, 2015 8:00 pm

    “All things are lawful for me”–but not everything is beneficial. “All things are lawful for me”–but I will not be controlled by anything.

    For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.

    You can argue. But, read in context. ALLLLLLLL things are lawful (even eating Pork). But the church won’t despise you if you don’t eat it. Just don’t judge those who eat pork, for jesus does not care and has received him… Like Jesus said, nothing that goes in the mouth defiles.

  13. December 3, 2015 7:55 am

    Relating to your second point, there is a concept that certain high Tzadikim (especially those in the aspect of Moshe-Mashiah, as brought in the Zohar), via a pidyon nefesh and following the Torahs of such Tzadikim. It doesn’t contradict the concept in the Talmud you cited, because it all still depends upon the person causing a change within themselves, and action that causes such atonement. It isn’t a free pass with nothing needing to be done on the sinner’s part, like Christianity falsely offers through ‘just believing’ in their idol.

    This concept also doesn’t mean these Tzadikim are divine, God forbid. Sometimes anti-missionaries will forgo these deeper concepts in favor of pshat understanding, and usually rightfully so since these things are out of the scope of the understanding of most of their audience – and also since Yeshu has nothing to do with these concepts. It seems some of these concepts that surely existed throughout all of Jewish history were ripped off and bastardized into standard pagan mysticism. Therefore, it is a touchy subject for anti-missionaries to delve into because for the unlearned who doesn’t have a basis in basic Torah concepts and halakha, especially those with an inclination towards the Christian man-god, could easily misunderstand and purposely pervert and use as sources for their man-god. Yashanet and a few other Messianic sources I’ve come across have done this by quoting the Zohar.

    The Zohar, Kitvei Ari z”l, teachings of the Ba`al Shem Tov and Rebbe Nahman are not for the initiates or anyone who is open to pagan and idolatrous ideas. There is the basic requirement of understanding basic Torah concepts like the Shema`/God’s Oneness, and halakha. It takes a great deal of learning, hitbodedut, crying out to Hashem, and tikun habrit to achieve any real understanding of the depths and inner dimensions of the Torah that are brought in the aforementioned sources.

    Christians/Messianics will often assert claims that the Sages said this verse and that verse are referring to the Messiah when anti-missionaries explain them according to the pshat meaning. It is like trying to explain Algebra to someone who doesn’t have their basic math right – because the Christians/Messianics don’t even get that Yeshu was so far off from being the Messiah that you cannot even compare him to the quotes, like in Psalm 2 where it says “bar” in Hebrew, meaning pure, and NOT meaning son which it only does in Aramaic and there is no Aramaic in the Psalms.

    Another point that is ridiculous is the whole Immanuel and `alma thing in Isaiah 7 and 8. In Isaiah 8:18, Isaiah himself states that Immanuel in chapter 7 and Maher-shallal-hash-baz in chapter 8 were two children born to him as signs for Israel that their fear of the Ephraim-Aram alliance is nothing to fear since ‘God is with us’, Immanuel, and that HaShem will make Aram a “maher-shallal (fast loot)” and Ephraim a “hash baz (quick plunder)” by the hand of Assyria. That’s what these two literal sons born to Isaiah’s wife were meant as – signs that HaShem would not give Judah over to Ephraim and Aram who were plotting their demise. It goes on to say that Assyria, after destroying Aram and Ephraim, would come into Judah like a flood but not be victorious if the people of Judah refrained from IDOLATRY and the other sins they’d fallen in and out of. This is exactly what happened in Hezekiah’s day, for the Jewish warriors in Jerusalem were too strong for the Assyrian king Sanheriv’s army and they had to retreat.

    Also, `alma simply doesn’t mean virgin, it means young woman, and it HAD to have meant a non-virgin in Isaiah 7 because Isaiah 8 attests to Isaiah’s wife being the `alma who gave birth to the two sons mentioned in the text who were “signs and portents for Israel”. It is comical how ridiculous the claims of Christians/Messianics are on these verses. If someone can’t even read the plain text of the Tanakh in context, then you can’t get anywhere with them. It is truly them who are “blinded” and “envious”, not the Jews who reject Yeshu.

  14. December 3, 2015 9:25 am

    “The Zohar, Kitvei Ari z”l, teachings of the Ba`al Shem Tov and Rebbe Nahman are not for the initiates or anyone who is open to pagan and idolatrous ideas. ”

    Unfortunately, all of the above three things have been abused by the ignorant and superstitious. I have an Israeli acquaintance (who is only superficially religious and not very knowledgeable about Yiddishkeit in general) who travels to Uman every year without fail. One time he excitedly showed me a printout where it said that if one gives charity in the name of R. Nachman (or something to do with his grave, don’t remember the exact wording), he will later pull you even out of hell by your hair (meaning, even if you are so bad of a sinner that he has to resort to that).

  15. December 3, 2015 9:48 am

    That was indeed the promise of R’ Nahman, and the reason this is real and works is because he’s the Nasi of the Beit Din Shel Ma`ala. He is the final revelation of the soul of the Moshe-Mashiah. Nahman Ben Simha is the gematria of Shim`on Ben Yohai, and like the Ari z”l, who spent much of his days in hitbodedut and passed away at the young age of 38 after revealing the highest revelations of Torah in his generation, R’ Nahman also did the same. Shemot 32:32 read backwards from the alef of “na”, reads “ani Nahman” and after that, shibush otiot “MeUman”. Moshe Rabenu, Rashbi, the Ari, and R’ Nahman were the soul of ‘Moshe-Mashiah’ which reveals the main revelations of the Torah to Israel. All other true Tzadikim are branches of this soul.

    The promise is going to his grave, especially on Rosh HaShana, giving tzedaka, and reciting Tikun HaKlali. Tzedaka atones for sin and the 10 Tehillim of Tikun HaKlali has a great effect on repairing that which a person has damaged by his sins. This is why R’ Nahman’s tikun works – not because it is a free pass. “And they believed in HaShem and Moshe His servant” as it says at the beginning of Shirat HaYam. It is a mitzva to have complete emuna in HaShem and in His servants, the Hakhamim, Tzadikim, Nevi’im, and so on – especially in the Tzadikim in the aspect of Moshe Rabenu.

    As for him pulling you out of Gehinnom for doing the aforementioned tikun, he said “by the peot”. Not meaning you have to have peot, but because peot are such an easy and simply mitzva to perform, simply not shaving that part of your head. It means that he can acquit you of a lot based on being ‘dan lekaf zkhut’. It only works if you’re trying to keep the entire Torah as much as you can, but you still failed, since you were sincere, he can help you out in the Beit Din Shel Ma`ala. Again, no free pass, it’s about sincerity and believing in HaShem and Moshe Rabenu and all manifestations of him throughout history.

  16. December 3, 2015 9:51 am

    Please note, Moshe-Mashiah, the concept brought in the Zohar, does not mean that Moshe Rabenu, Rashbi, the Ari, or R’ Nahman were THE Messiah. Clearly they weren’t. This role, the same as Tzadik HaDor (except sometimes spanning many generations) is something else that relates to THE actual Messiah who has not yet come.

  17. December 3, 2015 10:11 am

    “That was indeed the promise of R’ Nahman, and the reason this is real and works is because he’s the Nasi of the Beit Din Shel Ma`ala. He is the final revelation of the soul of the Moshe-Mashiah.”

    That’s where we disagree – I don’t believe this and it can be safely said, neither to most observant Jews:) Naturally, you being a Breslover, would disagree. That said, I do have great respect for R’ Nahman, even if I think that some of his teaching were sometimes misused by his later followers (or more likely, added to by his followers).

  18. December 3, 2015 10:31 am

    “The promise is going to his grave, especially on Rosh HaShana…”

    Also, I don’t think it’s such a great idea for Jews to be leaving our holy Eretz Yisrael on Rosh HaShana (of all times) to go to Uman, Ukraine, a land soaked with Jewish blood, giving money to the local Jew-hating population. The Israeli government should bring R’ Nahman (and all the other tzaddikim currently in Ukraine and other places) for re-burial in Israel.

  19. December 3, 2015 10:35 am

    I understand completely. After coming out of ‘Messianism’, it took a lot of deprogramming to accept what I believe now, and it made it harder since I had all that Christianity that mimics-yet-perverts some of these concepts.

    I maintain that you couldn’t have gotten out of Mitzrayim without Moshe Rabenu. And it was necessary to believe in him as being HaShem’s messenger to Israel. I believe the same holds true towards the other great Tzadikim mentioned. I think the misconceptions are along the lines of what I brought up recently, of how the Sefirot are simply not alternate deities whatsoever. It could easily be read that way for the unknowing and the unlearned, therefore it is also not ‘safe’.

    Keep in mind, R’ Nahman stated never to take his words outside of the context of halakha. He wasn’t, by any means.

    If you’re at all interested, I made a video answering a popular kiruv Rabbi’s claims about followers of R’ Nahman adding, as well as some other points I made here:

  20. December 3, 2015 10:40 am

    “Also, I don’t think it’s such a great idea for Jews to be leaving our holy Eretz Yisrael…”

    Kivrei Tzadikim have the kedusha of the Land of Israel, (Likutei Mohoran II, 109) and the Mishne Berura states they are “admat kodesh”. Like Moshe was buried across from Ba`al Peor, the god of excrement, so is R’ Nahman buried around a more than disgusting place.

    There are many involved in the effort of getting his kever relocated to Jerusalem, because he doesn’t belong in Ukraine, as he said “everywhere I go, I go to the Land of Israel”.

  21. December 3, 2015 11:38 am

    “I maintain that you couldn’t have gotten out of Mitzrayim without Moshe Rabenu.”

    That’s true, but there’s a very good reason why Hashem buried him at an undisclosed location – to prevent his post-mortem exaltation. I am afraid that some of the current practices where people seek out graves of the tzaddikim cross that line. For this reason Rambam (in Aveilus 14:13) prohibits even appropriate prayers at cemeteries.

  22. December 3, 2015 11:55 am

    “I understand completely. After coming out of ‘Messianism’, it took a lot of deprogramming to accept what I believe now, and it made it harder since I had all that Christianity that mimics-yet-perverts some of these concepts.”

    And since I did come out, I am extra sensitive to anything that even remotely smells like remnants of pagan practices that Jews tended to pick up from surrounding cultures, both when we were in the Land and in Exile. Unfortunately, there are indeed things practiced by some Jews today that are not that far removed from things Jews shouldn’t touch with a 1 mile long pole. I feel that my experience within Christianity and my subsequent coming out of it have inoculated me and my family from some of those excesses which I believe are very damaging to Yiddishkeit. This is not a mitnagish vs hasidish thing for me, but only seeking to be faithful to Hashem and keeping all useless superstitions far away from me.

  23. Concerned Reader permalink
    December 3, 2015 1:58 pm

    Guys, there are similarities with primitive Christianity, that’s the problem, its not even deniable at this point. True enough later Christianity crossed the line with worship of Jesus, but never forget.

    Christianity started with Jews who believed that J was a normal man with two parents who had a special soul that he became aware of at his immersion in the Jordan. This soul was believed to be a lofty soul on the level of one of the archangels. The later Christian theology found in John is just a conflation of that elevated soul notion with Philo’s logos mysticism, where this angel (who bears G-d’s name, and acts in his authority) is in fact just an emanation of G-d himself.

    Its a little disturbing that you are saying “Christianity is just a total distortion of kosher concepts.” It seems to me there are unkosher concepts here, flat out. This stuff grows from somewhere.

  24. December 3, 2015 2:08 pm

    “It seems to me there are unkosher concepts here, flat out. This stuff grows from somewhere.”

    CR, I agree with you on this. Some of this “unkosher” stuff was borrowed from the non-Jewish neighbors, slowing seeping in and becoming normalized. Why is this surprising when the Jewish history in the TaNaKh gives us ample examples of this. We must guard ourselves.

  25. remi4321 permalink
    December 3, 2015 2:10 pm

    Hi CR, John is the Mystic Jew and Marc was the one that probably believe the Jesus had a father and a mother. But what about Matthew and Luke? It’s not very clear for me who they thought Jesus was. And as per pagans around, they would have understand Jesus as a demi-god. I think is already hard enough to understand what the writers of the new testament thought. What did Paul believe for example when he said “Jesus is the image of the invisible God,” What does it mean?

    I think that’s why there are so many different conclusion on who Jesus is. I guess we will never know. Regardless what the early church thought. It was still idolatry to worship Jesus. It’s still idolatry to worship a triune god, a divine messiah, an angel or the son of man (a mortal).

  26. remi4321 permalink
    December 3, 2015 2:26 pm

    The majority of christian believe that the dietary requirement has been dealt with for a reason. Just a question Gene, did you believe in a different interpretation when you still were a messianic? I think a lot of people make excuses for those verses, because the Tanakh said clearly that the law is for ever. Now that you don’t believe in the NT, it’s just a plain contradiction.

    As for me, it helped me to throw christianity in the trash. Seriously, it’s clear enough from those passages that the law was dealt with, but people find excuses to say that it’s not the case. Jesus would never say you can eat pork!

    Let us celebrate passover with a nice ham between the egg and the bitter herb, and let’s call it kosher :) yummi!

  27. December 3, 2015 3:19 pm

    “Just a question Gene, did you believe in a different interpretation when you still were a messianic?”

    My views were slowly evolving during my time as messianic, from kashrut being a cultural thing to be a “good witness to Jewish people”, then to being a good suggestion for MJs (but not required because Jesus said that nothing makes one unclean and Paul said we were no longer under the law), to being absolutely still required for all Jews.

  28. December 4, 2015 6:29 am

    I totally disagree that the Zohar, Kitvei Ari, sifrei Breslev, etc, have ANY foreign influence whatsoever. Instead, much of oriental mysticism derived from ours (remember Sefer Yetzira was written by Avraham avinu who sent “gifts” to his sons who went to the east, you probably know this, I think from Rashi’s commentary on the pasuk), only they use the names of tum’a and they also have bastardized and even watered down the concepts that they derived from us. The same is true of Islam and Christianity. “Sufi” means “tzofi” (tzadi is really a kind of s sound, like in Arabic, Aramaic and in Yemenite Hebrew), a term synonymous with navi. They got it all from us.

    It’s better to not be concerned with seeming similarities because once you’re free of any of their lies and you have a foundation in halakha, it is very easy to separate and discern the difference between them.

    The concept of the Tzadik Amiti and believing in the Tzadik who is in the aspect of Moshe Rabenu is found in the written Torah as I explained above, and just because Christianity ripped it off and made it into straight up paganism doesn’t mean we should reject the original concept – because that would mean we’re being influenced by Christianity and losing out on the truth of our own faith.

    In fact, R’ Nahman teaches that even if you’re working and among goyim, you can find HaShem within that whole experience somewhere, albeit highly hidden. Because if there weren’t any holiness of HaShem in any given place, it wouldn’t exist. The same is true of the nations’ religions and their languages, which all have elements of kedusha that have been engulfed in the extras/shells/klipot. If you find them and raise them out, it’s a big deal.

    There is a whole amazing Torah in Likutei Moharan about discrepancies within the texts of foreign religions which cause some of the adherents to come to Judaism when they see the contradictions and when they realize the bits of kedusha within those texts conflict with all the dross and ‘shells’. The reason any kedusha gets there in the first place is also mentioned in the Torah, but I’ve already written a megilla and if anyone’s interested in finding out more, I could find which Torah in L”M it is exactly.

  29. Concerned Reader permalink
    December 4, 2015 10:43 am

    Aaron, is it any wonder the Christians “bastardized” certain concepts when their movement was dominated by non Jews as early as the 2nd century?

  30. December 10, 2015 4:52 am

    Concerned Reader, I think since the Roman empire always universalized all religions of the peoples subject to them, incorporating them and their worship into the melting pot religion, and since they couldn’t grasp that Judaism was monotheistic and wouldn’t change, they forced a change.

    It is no wonder, then, that this became the official religion of the Roman empire. It was the same old mixed paganism Rome had held by, only now with different names. The pantheon of gods was replaced by the saints.

    I don’t believe Yeshu existed as portrayed in the NT, at all. I think he may have been based on 1-3 actual people who existed.

  31. Concerned Reader permalink
    December 10, 2015 6:17 am

    I don’t believe Yeshu existed as portrayed in the NT, at all. I think he may have been based on 1-3 actual people who existed.

    Rome actually tolerated Judaism, it just placed limits on gentile conversions to Judaism for its citizens, and off course had huge prejudices. Even long after the Temple’s destruction there were Jews in northern Israel busy codifying the Mishna. (Judaism was the only religion in the empire declared legally exempt from Roman emperor worship.) Christianity by contrast was viewed as illegal because it was viewed by Romans as a novel and therefore dangerous cult. Christianity also forbade its adherents from engaging in Caesar worship and from conducting various forms of business as per their early discipline manuals.

    It is a misconception that the Romans, or that gentile polytheists more generally, just “couldn’t grasp” the idea of monotheism. Off course they can grasp the concept of oneness. Both Plato and Aristotle (pagan Greeks) posited a monistic (single) cause to the universe, the hindus did the same. The question is the nature of the oneness. Personal? Impersonal? etc.

    The areas of disagreement one finds between Judaism’s biblical monotheism and the various forms of polytheism are many, but are far more nuanced than simply not understanding the concept of one divinity.

    For instance, A big question to polytheism is whether there is actually evidence of a providential G-d who has a will and gives mitzvot to humans, (especially in light of the problem of evil.) Its not chiefly a question of is there one or many gods. Look at how common the doctrines of reincarnation, fate, and a karmic cycle are. Polytheism is much more cyclical, much less providence oriented.

    I know this to be the case because I have read several polytheistic polemics against monotheism, and that is a main objection they raise.

    The question also arises in the pagan polemics of what is meant by oneness? Is there a oneness like one unknowable reality? Perhaps fate? Is this Oneness a substance of sorts that we happen to call a “god” something that comes to exist, dissolves, and then reconstitutes itself? Would a G-d (as described by the Bible) not be more impersonal given his traits? If G-d is omnipotent, omniscient, etc. how does he possibly care for the condition of mortals, etc.

    Some Greeks (reading Plato) might well have believed in a single unknown cause that ultimately later emanated the several primordial deities (which were basically the elements called by various names,) in their cosmologies and myths.

    The big disagreement Pagans had with biblical monotheism was embodied by Euthyphro’s Dilemma. The dilemma essentially says,

    “If your G-d is good why doesn’t he end evil? If he can but doesn’t, he must be cruel or indifferent to human affars. If he simply can’t end evil, he is either not really a god or he has some competition.”

    So, strictly speaking, the issue for polytheism is not an issue of unity V plurality, but with the nature of divinity and its claimed characteristics. Two totally different approaches to the notion of divinity for two different worldviews.

    This is one huge reason why I don’t buy into the pagan derivation arguments pertaining to Christianity’s origins. Pagans simply wouldn’t invent a savior figure like the nazarene who “saves the world from sin,” because those concepts like Sin are meaningless to these cultures. A god like Osiris for example is a Euphemism for the crop cycle, not a redemption figure.

    I definitely believe Jesus existed, because there is no historical reason to believe he didn’t exist. We can call the NT narrative mythological all day long, but scholars have been able to show a Jewish core to many of J’s sayings. Also, We have more extra biblical documentary evidence for Jesus’ existence than we do for almost any other figure in the second temple period, or even later periods. If someone says “Jesus didn’t exist,” it leaves many people (including several sages) open to the historicity chopping block, simply because there are many sages whom we only have references to from the Talmud, and from no other outside sources. At least with Jesus, we have independent attestation of his existence from different groups, both Jewish and Roman.

  32. December 10, 2015 11:24 am

    “I definitely believe Jesus existed, because there is no historical reason to believe he didn’t exist. ”

    I tend to agree with you. Jesus was a “rabbi”, and his disciples wrote his story. I don’t believe everything in the New testament, but I think he might have been a preacher. He might have done some “miracles”, but at the end, was killed disappointing all his disciples and the hope of the messianic era. His disciples arrived with an explanation and romanced everything (especially the ending). “John”, nevertheless invented his whole book, I don’t think he knew Jesus at all.

    The problem with the new testament is, “who is Jesus if G-d is one”. That’s why they arrived with their polytheist interpretations. We are not supposed to worship anything else than G-d, but Jesus is there, Darn! Some wanted to get rid of the “old” testament, and some had other idea. Rome wanted unity, and decided to go with one of them, the trinity. Yes, they did not bother too much, as long as the “echad” was explained in a way or another, it was fine.

    I also think that Rome tolerated Judaism, but that was until Christianity was declared the state religion. Then things went the other war round and Jews were declared the enemy of the cross. But of course, “real” christian would say the they were not follower of Jesus.

  33. December 10, 2015 2:46 pm

    CR, sins are pertinent to Judaism, not paganism, like you said, and that is exactly my point. What better way to get the ine religion that doesn’t fit to accept nkrmative paganism by making your sins automatically atoned for by a man god who offered himself up as a human sacrifice? It’s the bait and switch of Christianity that never convinced those learned in Torah. It’s what the Greeks didn’t try and got thrown off and slaughtered by the righteous Jews who rejected idolatry, as we celebrate now during Hanuka. The Jews who did later, by the Bar Kokhva revolt, hurt the Romans badly, but didn’t throw them off completely. Christianity, outlawed by Rome officially in the beginning, became the official Roman religion not ironically, since Rome swallowed certain aspects of kedusha and were satiated, as Esau, with a good claim to the birthright.

    You really ought to study Likutei Moharan 8, because it talks all about this, was given by R Nahman in Hanuka. The Rav of the klipa, the Rav of Esau, who is strong in his time but temporary, like a storm wind, is who we’re up against, and his wind is dying in our days. That’s why we see the Vatican trying to gain control of the tomb of David, because Esau wants to leech off of any remaining aspect of Malkhut possible, because he’s on his death bed.

  34. Concerned Reader permalink
    December 12, 2015 3:01 am

    CR, sins are pertinent to Judaism, not paganism, like you said, and that is exactly my point. What better way to get the ine religion that doesn’t fit to accept nkrmative paganism by making your sins automatically atoned for by a man god who offered himself up as a human sacrifice?

    When I say “pagans don’t care about sins” I don’t think you get it. I mean, the central tenant of the Christian story is meaningless to polytheists. Also, Christianity taught reward and punishment (despite J’s death) up until the reformation. Pagans thought the idea of a man dying for something they didn’t care about was meaningless, that was my point. How can someone (you or someone else) die for “sins” when your culture doesn’t believe in mitzvot, a moral arbiter who gives mitzvot, or a concept of sin? See what I’m trying to say? Normative paganism has no notion of “sins” to be atoned for, so the Christian myth is not a product of polytheists.

  35. John permalink
    December 12, 2015 5:25 am

    I am not an Christian because their dogma is all wrong I don’t agree with Paul as was the case of Peter, James and other writers. Your statements about “Jesus” above are through another interpretation of a second person. If we look at Jesus only and words attributed to him, what do your statements look like?

    Jesus did not claim to be devine, in fact he said he did not say or do anything without asking “the father” first. This is not a strange concept – look at the prophets. They spoke and wrote messages as if G-d himself were saying it. He says to Jeremiah, look I have put my words in your mouth. See Moses prophecy of a prophet like me. In fact when he was accused of making himself G-d, he said I said only that I was the son of G-d ( as the prophets said of men also ( you are children of the most high, but you will die like men) in his argument, he says isn’t written in Torah “Ye are gods”, he told them to accuse David of Blasphemy instead ( that was the orginal besides Isaiah, but it is clearly sarcastic – and a slam on men that equate their own Judgement above of the creators. Jesus ( according his claim didn’t do that ). The argument about eating is explained by Jesus the washing of hands, which is tradition and not Torah – this is a constant theme of Jesus. Not helping the sick or the hungry on the sabbath is also tradition, not Torah. Isaiah asks, is this the fast that I have chosen ( as a symbol of the Sabbath and he clearly spells it out in the chapter)

    as to your other points, they show me that you don’t know the texts as well as you think you do. Jesus said that “the words I speak to you, the are spirit and the are life”. That is what he meant by no one goes to the father but through him, he clearly was saying he is the prophet that Moses promised and every word that he said would be required of men. Moses was given the task of bringing the children of Israel into the land, it was their rebellion that caused them to have to bloodly fight for it – G-d said if they listened, he would go ahead of them and defeat their enemies, they didn’t and he didn’t. You say that Jesus said not to resist evil – actually, he did say to resist evil with good works and obedience to G-d. It is the same picture as at the time of Moses. Obey G-d and he will take care of your enemies.

    As for the virgin birth, the 3 headed roman god, wct, ect – that is an invention of other men.

    If there is one man that all the nations would look to according to the prophets, you know who it is – unless someone far more popular comes along. Looking at all the texts and throwing away the religious dogma, itseems a safe bet in obeying the teqchings of Jesus in light of the commandments AND witness (the events historically) of Moses and how they might be interpreted.

    I find the images on this website page sinful by the way.

    I am sorry this is such a mess, I am on an iPhone. I am not here to argue, just to spark thought.

  36. December 12, 2015 11:31 am

    And what I said doesn’t conflict with what you wrote, because Christianity cintains paganism mixed with Jewish values and although someone dying for their sins may not have been meanjngful to pagans, it was a bastardization of a Jewish concept, therefore attempting to appeal to Jews and incorporate Judaism into normative paganism, as if it were possible. Christianity was an attempt to appeal to Jews and incorporate some Jewish concepts into the universalist Roman religion. Then it becomes no wonder it became known as Catholicism, meaning Universalism.

    Yeshu is the “Rav”, the archangel, of Esau (Likutei Moharan 8), he is all din/gevura. Also, Esau spurned the birthright which is wisdom, yud, the sun, etc (Likutei Moharan 1). Yeshua is the name Esau plus a yud, that is the klipa of Esau tried to regain the yud, wisdom, birthright, that he oreviously spurned. He tried to do this to appear wise an peaceful, and leach off of Torah, which is the inheritance of the birthright that he spurned and that Ya`akov rigtfully took, as he was fitting. Ya`akov was a man of Torah and a warrior in the right way, as he possessed mishpat, which is the Middle Pillar. He didn’t use his physical prowess to destroy anyone, not even Lavan the idolater, when he easily could have. Esau, on the other hand, used his physical prowess for pure evil. His “Rav”, who is the Samekh-Mem himself, personified himself as Yeshu to try to gain the yud that he spurned before.

    What happened is, we accurately identified him for what he is and called him Yeshu, taking away the `ayin, which symbolizes sight/wisdom, the very thing he tried to gain, and also rendering his name the intitials of “yimah shemo wa-zikhro” (“may He blott out his name and memory”).

    If the correlations between wisdom, yud, birthright, and the rest are unclear, they’re proven in Likutei Moharan as cited. I’m merely connecting the dots from multiple teachings there and drawing my own hidush about Yeshu from them.

    You seem interested in “original Jewish followers” of Yeshu, and I think any of them were simply heretics, otherwise the Sages wouldn’t have added the curse of the minim to the tefilla. In the nusah tefilla of the Land of Israel from the Talmud Yerushalmi, the text mentions the נצרים specifically. In the versions derived from the Bavli, the text is מסרים/מודסרים, meaning informants to the gentiles, but hinting at the נצרים/נוצרים, since mem and nun are interchangeable and sadi and samekh are also, and in fact sound almost identically the same when pronounced correctly (sadi is a kind of s sound, not a tz sound as it has become kniwn as today). There is a halakha that if the leader of the tefilla messes up or delays during the audible recitation of the tefilla at the curse of the minim, he should be replaced immediately because it makes him a suspect for being a heretic.

    All the Sages of the Gemara could perform miracles, including raising the dead, and their decisions and statements are deeper than what they usually appear to be on the surface. They were above and beyond the spiritual level and understanding of anyone alive today.

    This whole argument is pointless in the end, because it’s focusing on the details of paganism, philosophy, and heresy. When it comes down to it, there is no purpose on this earth besides believing in HaShem, His tzadikim and hakhamim, and learning and doing the Torah and praying Him sincerely in order to draw closer to Him (see end of Ecclesiastes). Everything else is a distraction.

    That being said, it is necessary to look at the wisdom behind all things in creation, and to realize that nothing is by chance, and to therefore delve into the wisdom behind what takes place on any level (Likutei Moharan 1), but these things are reserved fornthose who have no doubts about HaShem’s oneness and no confusions about how to serve Him.

  37. December 12, 2015 11:38 am

    I forgot one thing. In connection with the wisdom being likened to the sun, this is the reason why Yeshu’s symbol is the cross which is indicative of the four equinoxes. Another connection to the spiritual klipa of Esau trying to attain the lost birthright.

    Also, I live in Israel, I’m not posting on Shabbat, as it went out a while ago here.

  38. Concerned Reader permalink
    December 12, 2015 2:34 pm

    I guess I have the same problems with all of the major monotheistic religions then. The same problem exists within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The problem is that each group judges others through their own interpretive lenses, and not through real interaction with or real knowledge of real living people and their worldviews. If there is a real interaction of people, it is usually an interaction with only one group within the larger entity, confined at one point in time, and that experience then gets applied to all others.

    Allow me to explain. When a Christian reads his New Testament, he is reading a book (probably written by some Jews in the second temple period,) that takes what happened in that one generation, and then creates a caricature of all Jews past and present. One small group of Jews becomes a typecast for an entire people, a whole nation. The Christians therefore believe, “I’ve read what the NT says about Jews, therefore I know all I need to know.” Its outrageous, its inaccurate, its wrong.

    Islam, (rather than talking to real Jews and Real Christians) has a description of some Jews and some Christians in their Qur’an, but then applies that one experience and description to both groups indiscriminately and unilaterally across all time. Likewise, outrageous, inaccurate, and wrong.

    Judaism has a halachic framework that gives a set of behaviors that are considered to constitute Avodah Zarah.

    Muslims (who only pray to one being) are called monotheists by the Rambam in every sense, while Christians are called idol worshipers.

    It doesn’t even matter to anyone, or raise any questions for people that the Christians believe in the Torah as we posses it now, or that their religion historically actually emerged from inside of Judaism, though bastardized or extreme in certain ideas it was.

    The question likewise isn’t examined of how other movements since Christianity have likewise arisen in Judaism, with enough similarities to the Christians so as to cause problems. Avodah zerah is thus defined mostly by meeting a criterion of actions listed in a book, and not much else.

    Polytheism as defined by the Torah is a set of behaviors, it does not go beyond that in judgement. It says “if a person worships the sun, moon, stars, or the whole host of heaven.” he/she is an idolater. This is likewise a typecast of others as in the other two religions, because it requires no direct interaction, and no direct knowledge of real people or worldviews.

    The Torah says if you “worship,” thereby applying its own definitions and concept to the term worship. The fact that other cultures may have completely different notions of the word worship, of the divine, or may not in fact be worshiping anything at all, etc. gets glossed over in favor of a construct constructed by a list of forbidden behaviors. Its just like the Christian caricature of Jews in a way, just in a different context.

    These forbidden behaviors aren’t even universally forbidden under all circumstances in the Torah itself. As Aaron has already noted, its completely consistent with Torah to cleave to a human being to enhance emunah, especially if he is the Tzadik hador. One may even visit the graves in a given context for introspection, without strictly violating the laws of worship. (let’s forget for a moment that the oldest polytheism around involves standing by graves and being introspective.)

    Hashem himself even commanded once that an image be made and stared at, (the serpent of brass,) that had to be destroyed, and people were confused when Israel started to eventually worship it?

    G-d says “you saw no form” but he always brings Shaliachs, Moshiachs, and angels that bear G-d’s name and authority, etc. One angel even says the words “I am the G-d of bethel,” in first person, and people are somehow surprised there was a Jesus of Nazareth? really?

  39. December 12, 2015 9:41 pm

    John, are you sure you’re not a Christian? What DO you believe?

    “as to your other points, they show me that you don’t know the texts as well as you think you do.”

    You’d me mistaken on this point.

    “I find the images on this website page sinful by the way.”

    Not sure I follow you – which images?

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